Sizewell C runs pilot programme to increase diversity in the workforce
Sizewell C is working in Suffolk and Norfolk with Women into Construction, an independent not-for-profit organisation that promotes gender equality in construction.
A local partnership comprising Sizewell C, Morgan Sindall Construction, Lovell, DWP, East Coast College and Clarion Futures have worked with WiC to support 59 local women through a bespoke programme of support designed to raise awareness of the construction sector, give them the skills and confidence to apply for roles and open up opportunities for employment with local companies.
The programme of support has included:
- One to one advice and guidance from Steph Sheppard, WiC Project Manager. Steph has worked with the women to understand their personal aspirations, barriers and goals and create action plans.
- Mentoring circles included support from the employer partners - Sarah Williamson, Sizewell C Civils Director, met with the group virtually and shared her experiences in the sector.
- East Coast College delivered employability skills and taster sessions in construction.
- Clarion Futures provided training in Level 1 Health & Safety and Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card which is necessary for the women to access site based roles.
- The employer partners provided 2 week work placements for the women. During these placements, WiC provided financial support (covering travel and childcare costs) to the women as well as mentoring support to ensure that the placement runs smoothly for both the women and employers.
- Following the placements, WiC then continues to work with the women to update their CVs, include their work-experience and new qualifications and assist them to find employment. WiC is working with the participating employers and others to source employment and apprenticeship opportunities and once in work will continue to support the women for a period of 6 months.
Lauren Parker, a Gorleston resident took up the opportunity to join the Sizewell C early works civils team to get an insight into the project to deliver Suffolk’s first new power station in over 25 years.
The team briefed Lauren on the wide-ranging ecological work that the project is carrying out and the surveys required which include carrying out archaeological digs through to developing a thorough understanding of the fauna and flora in the areas they work. She also gained an insight into the infrastructure that will be put in place, such as access roads to the site and the movement of existing buildings at Sizewell B, in readiness for the construction of the new power station.
Steph Sheppard, Project Manager at Women into Construction, said: “We are delighted to offer this WiC programme in the Norfolk and Suffolk area, enabling us to engage with local unemployed women, inspiring them to get involved with the tremendous range of new opportunities across construction and infrastructure. Projects such as Sizewell C offer exciting careers in engineering and construction and it is great to see local employers embracing this initiative to attract and welcome women into the sector.”
David Murphy, Advanced Works Lead, said: “We were pleased to welcome Lauren to the Sizewell C site and to look around Sizewell B to develop an understanding of the wide-ranging work that has to take place before we can build the power station.”
At peak construction Sizewell C will require 7,900 people on site with a third from the local area. The project is working with local organisations to ensure the access to rewarding jobs is as wide as possible. The pilot builds on the partnerships already in place with Inspire Suffolk and Access Community Trust who work with some of those furthest from the job market in our region.
Sarah Williamson, Sizewell C Civils Director, said: “We want Sizewell C to have a positive legacy in this region through a boost in skills, training and employment for local people. Sizewell C is supporting this training programme with Women into Construction because we want to encourage more females to consider a career in the sector, we want to break down the barriers and make joining us as easy as possible.”
About Women into Construction
Women into Construction is an independent not-for-profit organisation that promotes gender equality in construction. WiC provides bespoke support to women wishing to work in the construction industry, and assists contractors to recruit highly motivated, trained women, helping to reduce skills gaps and create a more gender-equal work force.